Apr 18, 2020

Hong Kong is a land of opportunities to start the business or to get more exposure in the region. To develop their business in Asia, many western brands will first open a branch in Hong Kong because the international city has plenty of advantages. Thanks to its proximity with China, the largest B2C market and “factory” in the world, the fast development of technology, the friendly tax and business environment and the rich historical heritage, Hong Kong is generally the first step for brands who are looking to develop their visibility in Asia.

A friendly-business environment

Despites the recent troubles, Hong Kong remains one of the first destinations for entrepreneurs when it comes to open a business in Asia thanks to a friendly-business environment and a dynamic eCommerce sector. Indeed, recent surveys from Statista show that the expected annual growth rate of eCommerce would reach 8.1% and that the user penetration is expected to hit 75.7% in 2023.

There are various reasons that could explain these positive trends besides the fact that the political situation faces challenges at the moment.

  • The simple and low tax regime allows businesses to lower the operating cost. Hong Kong works on a two-tier tax rate: 8.25% on assessable profits up to $2 000 000 and 16.5% on any part of assessable profits over $2,000,000.
  • The tariff-free port with a free trade and investment policy attracts startups and the proximity to Mainland China and other Asian countries gives Hong Kong a distinct position to operate as a trading territory. In recent decades, China plays the role of a world’s factory, representing 14% of the world’s total exports and of course, China is the world’s largest exporter of manufactured goods.
  • Hongkongers are highly connected and Hong Kong remains the world’s freest economy in 2019 according to the recent survey from the Heritage Foundation which creates a favorable environment to do business in the region.

    Hong Kong have advantages for entrepreneur despites the fact that other South Asian countries like Singapore are pushing to be the main business place in Asia thanks to programs like Smart Nation launched by the government. Hong Kong however, is developing its trade relationships with Mainland China, especially since the Chinese government fosters the Belt and Road Initiative as well as the Greater Bay Area development.

    E-shops are easier to build

    If the market is growing and that incorporating a company in Hong Kong takes only a few days, building an eCommerce platform is easier than before and allow entrepreneur to be able to sell in a fast way since technology simplifies and reduces the complexity.

    Some website builders such as Wordpress, Wix or Shopify can provide all-in-one services with an affordable price. They can help a website newbie to create a professional-look website for the business without acquiring all new knowledge like programming and designing.

    Such platforms are user-friendly and include the main basic features to start selling online:

  • Domain name and hosting plans.
  • Email addresses with your own domain.
  • Theme that can be customized.
  • Create a shop easily for desktop and mobile.
  • Cart management and fraud analysis features.

    Website builders like Shopify usually have video tutorials to guide you through to build your shop even though you’re totally new in this industry. The objective is to be able to launch a platform in a few clicks without having to develop it from scratch and in case you need more resources and features, add-ons and plugins are available to create a more functionable websites to fit for your business needs.

    Engage your audience through digital marketing

    Apart from the traditional ways of advertising promotional channels, digital marketing offers plenty of possibilities for entrepreneurs.

    Thanks to big data, marketers are able to better understand their audiences and to push ads at the right time, to the right persons, and emailing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and retargeting are particularly greats tools to do so. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services will, however, be better to drive traffic and leads on a long-run by making sure that the pages can easily be scanned by search engines and that they contain the right keywords.

    In Hong Kong, Social Media and KOL are among the main strategies to develop a brand, especially for products that target the Millennials and it’s important to know what are the main social platforms to address the right message to the right audience.

    Hiring a celebrity can be high budget-consuming and many brands are now going for micro-influencers to work on product placement and hashtag to increase their exposure. While that kind of strategy is trending, be sure to closely analyze the profile of the influencers you would like to work with as data can be faked on social networks and KPIs like the “reach” (number of followers, engagement rate), the “engagement” (number of clicks, likes, reactions, shares, comments) and the “sales” are the ones you should focus on.

    Both Facebook and Instagram are popular in Hong Kong and the “shop” function is a great way to place a small amount of budget to advertise your products to get your first sales but don’t forget to promote your e-shop on WhatsApp. Many of the potential customers are relying on enquiring directly from the app and the company just released a feature that allows brand to better promote a catalog to their potential customers.

    Launching a new business from scratch is not easy but there are still opportunities in the region. Technology makes things easier and website builders solve barriers that prevented individuals to become entrepreneurs.

    What are you waiting for to start your new career path?